Language and Equilibrium
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Language and Equilibrium

By Prashant Parikh

A new framework that shows how to derive the meaning of an utterance from first principles by modeling it as a system of interdependent games.

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Summary

A new framework that shows how to derive the meaning of an utterance from first principles by modeling it as a system of interdependent games.

In Language and Equilibrium, Prashant Parikh offers a new account of meaning for natural language. He argues that equilibrium, or balance among multiple interacting forces, is a key attribute of language and meaning and shows how to derive the meaning of an utterance from first principles by modeling it as a system of interdependent games.His account results in a novel view of semantics and pragmatics and describes how both may be integrated with syntax. It considers many aspects of meaning—including literal meaning and implicature—and advances a detailed theory of definite descriptions as an application of the framework.Language and Equilibrium is intended for a wide readership in the cognitive sciences, including philosophers, linguists, and artificial intelligence researchers as well as neuroscientists, psychologists, and economists interested in language and communication.

Hardcover

$9.75 S | £7.99 ISBN: 9780262013451 360 pp. | 9 in x 6 in 45 figures

Endorsements

  • Language and Equilibrium is an extraordinarily ambitious and creative work whose goal is nothing less than a complete rethinking of the nature of linguistic meaning and the relationship between semantics and pragmatics. Starting with the intriguing idea that form-meaning correspondences are established through the delicate balance of the conflicting forces of syntactic, conventional, informational, and flow constraints, Parikh builds a formal model that offers a contextually-sensitive generalization of Fregean compositionality in terms of the fixed point of a game-theoretically defined mapping. Not only a technical tour de force, this work offers a novel perspective on fundamental issues in linguistics and philosophy of language, one which is deeply stimulating and rewards careful study.

    Robert Frank

    Yale University

  • Language and Equilibrium is an extraordinarily ambitious and creative work whose goal is nothing less than a complete rethinking of the nature of linguistic meaning and the relationship between semantics and pragmatics. Starting with the intriguing idea that form-meaning correspondences are established through the delicate balance of the conflicting forces of syntactic conventional informational and flow constraints Parikh builds a formal model that offers a contextually-sensitive generalization of Fregean compositionality in terms of the fixed point of a game-theoretically defined mapping. Not only a technical tour de force this work offers a novel perspective on fundamental issues in linguistics and philosophy of language one which is deeply stimulating and rewards careful study.

    Robert Frank

    Yale University